Friday, July 28, 2006

Master and Snoremander: The Most Boring Film You'll See, and other topics

It's been over a week since I last posted anything. I have been going to Dog Days three or four nights a week. It has been so hot lately that when I get home I don't have the energy to think of something to write about. I love the exercise though. I am going to be very sad when it ends in a couple of weeks.

Erik and I are celebrating our 6th Islamic wedding anniversary today. I say Islamic because we actually have two wedding anniversaries. There is the July 28th wedding date, which nobody really recognizes except us and the Islamic community, and our February 2nd wedding anniversary which is the legal date and the date that we started dating back in 1996, and the one that our families recognize. We just got back from Paisano's Italian Ristorante, which is always fabulous. I bought him tickets to a Royals game against the Twins next week, and he bought me a silver bracelet with green amber stones and a silver box with Chinese pottery on the lid. Both are very beautiful.

I am sitting here typing, Noah is destroying the house, and Erik is watching "Master and Commander...," that one film with Russell Crowe. If you want my opinion, it looks dreadfully boring, but I haven't actually watched it so maybe it is good. All of I have seen of it involves Russell Crowe and his crew eating and drinking and cheering, then they eat, drink, and cheer some more, then they see the iguanas of the Galapagos Islands, periodically there is tragic music, then they eat, drink, and cheer more. Like I said, yawn. It has been a very relaxing evening so far. I have many topics to discuss, but after thinking about it more, I think I will save that for the next post. Why spoil a good day!

Oh yeah, if you live in Kansas, get out there and vote (August 1st) the State Board of Education wackos out of office, and any of the other social conservatives who want to dictate our lives. Viva la democratie!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

One Man's Terrorist is Another Man's Freedom Fighter...

The last several weeks I have had nothing of importance to write about. Now there is so much to write about that I don't know where to begin. I said in my last post that I would write about North Korea and Somalia. However, the escalating war between Lebanon and Israel has suddenly and unexpectedly taken precedent over everything, including the so-called "low-level" civil war in Iraq. I think the thing that is most disturbing to everyone about this escalation is that nobody knows what is going to happen next. This is threatening to break into a devastating regional war and I'm not sure that the American public grasps the seriousness of the situation. In the past, whenever Israel has delved into Lebanese or Syrian territory, they have retreated relatively quickly. However, due to the continued attacks by Hizballah (arabic: hizb=political party; allah=god; party of God) and the subsequent retaliations are about two feet from spilling into Syria. According to Al-Jazeera (Arabic version), Iran has threatened Israel not to attack Syria or face severe reprisals. Inevitably, if Israel strikes Syria, the U.S. will become involved in some capacity, which will provoke Iran and the scores of foreign fighters who are just waiting to get involved. This is such an unbelievably serious situation that I can't even believe it.

Oddly enough, I just got off the phone with my brother Derek (the Marine) and he had no idea that anything was even going on in Israel or Lebanon. He is relatively sheltered these days, living at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, training for his MOS, which is motor transport. His biggest worry is being deployed to Iraq. For a while, he just talked about being deployed, but he never said where he would be deployed. Now, with only four weeks left in his training, I think he is trying to prepare us, as well as himself, for the very real possibility of being sent to Iraq. Maybe this is worst case scenario, but as this point, it seems to be the most realistic scenario. He will be in motor transport, as our neighbor said, "IED bait." I really don't know what I'm going to do with myself. How will I live everyday, just waiting for someone to call and tell me that something has happened to him? I will be holding my breath his whole tour. It seems like torture for military families. War changes people and I love him the way he is. If he changes for the worse, it will be like a death. There is no way that we will not be changed in some way or another by this. I guess we can only hope to come out of it as unscathed as possible. Of course, I worry about Iraq. If everything keeps escalating, God only knows where he will end up. Hopefully, not Iran or North Korea.

It makes me so mad sometimes. I don't know why he had to join the military. I know to some degree why he did, but I don't understand why it seemed like the right answer. I blame his right wing old boss, and I blame Fox News for propagandaizing (my new word) the War on Terror, and of course, I blame American society for glorifying war and violence, but it's not really fair because he made the choice. Derek wanted more for himself and his family and he didn't see any other way.

This brought me to a realization the other day. I abhor violence and the killing of innocents in any shape or form, of course, but I got to thinking about the reasons why Derek did join the Marine Corp and came to a disturbing thought. Derek joined because he wanted to be part of something bigger and better than what he had. He is dedicated to his belief in American democracy and that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the right course of action. Although he believed in these ideals before, the military has further instilled these beliefs in him throughout his training. My disturbing thought was, "Is he any different than a suicide bomber?" Think about it. Suicide bombers are recruited through their absolute belief in good and evil. They are usually vulnerable and ultimately want something better for themselves and their families. They believe they will achieve paradise (although not 72 virgins, I don't know where this bullshit came from) and their families may receive what is tantamount to a blood price for their mission, much like what military families in the U.S. receive if their loved one dies.

Don't mistake me, I don't think my brother is a terrorist and I'm not justifying suicide bombings, particularly of innocents. I know he would never hurt anyone if he could help it, but we're all human and we all have a dark side that I think, when placed under the worst of circumstances, will inevitably come out. However, I guess it all depends on the side that you are on. I'm sure that for all the people that think he is a freedom fighter, there are many more who consider him, by virtue of the fact that he is in the U.S. military, to be a terrorist. It's like they say, "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." It all depends on your perspective I suppose. From my ideological perspective, all killing is wrong because there is never a good enough reason to do so. However, from my perspective as a sister, I would vaporize the entire damn country of Iraq if I knew that doing so would bring him back safe to us. Suddenly, the life of others becomes so cheap. Maybe I found my dark side after all.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

I need a Paris!

Well, it has been over a week since my last post. I indicated last Friday that I knew the holiday week was going to be extremely busy, but I had no idea what kind of week I was in for.

Saturday--Erik and I woke up to the phone ringing at 6 am Saturday morning. It was Erik's dad Jim calling to tell us that Sue's (Erik's stepmother) mother Betty had passed away. It was completely unexpected. Jim and Sue had been with her and her husband just a few hours before. She had been in a lot of pain due to a surgery for arthritis, but she had checked into a pain management center and was doing really well. It was very sad. Sue's family is fairly large and so Erik and I spent much of Saturday cooking food for them. Sue is always there for us so it was the least we could do.

Monday--I went to work on Monday. Peter, one of my managing editors, was on vacation so I backed him up. However, it was a totally unproductive day otherwise. It doesn't seem very smart to make people work the day before a holiday that is on a Tuesday. Oh well, what can you do?

Tuesday--Erik went and visited his dad on Tuesday. Jim had been very sick since Sunday, but since there has been a lot of stuff going around, we didn't think much about it. The 4th just didn't feel right this year. We did the usual barbeque at Grandma Bonnie's house. I found out that my dear friend from elementary through high school, Jenny Ward's mother Helen died of cancer last Monday. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend her service because I had already missed work. Helen was a great lady who always treated me so well. I will always remember her for her sense of humor. I remember one time when Jenny and I decided that it would be a good idea to put down pillows and blankets on the floor and launch ourselves off the top of her bunk bed. We were on the second level and directly over Helen, who was watching t.v. I remember her running up the stairs after about the fifth loud "booom!" and saying, "What in God's name do you think you are doing?" We couldn't really hide what we were doing so in the most nonchalant way we could, we explained that we were jumping off the bunk beds. "Well, you're going to come through the floor so stop it." Then, she went downstairs, but I think she was laughing. She was always like that. Helen will truly be missed.

Wednesday--We got home from work and had planned on going to Betty's visitation. However, there was a message from Sue asking us to call her. As it turned out, Jim had appendicitis and they thought his appendix had burst so he had to have an emergency appendectomy on Wednesday night. He came through the surgery unbelievably well and his appendix had not ruptured. As bad as our week was, Sue's week was much worse.

Thursday--We went to Betty's funeral on Thursday at the First Southern Baptist Church in Topeka. I have never been to a Southern Baptist funeral (or anything for that matter), but I can honestly say it is not an experience that I want to repeat. The preacher was like a used car salesman and it seemed that his whole agenda was getting money for their missionaries to convert hethens. I despise missionaries, regardless of the faith, and to be subjected to this crap at someone's funeral seems wrong. Oh well, as it says in "Al-Kafiroon" in the Qur'an, "To you your religion to me my religion. (In Arabic, "A deen kum aletheen adeen"). The service felt like it went on forever, especially with a 17-month old who burst out into a rendition of "Ba ba black sheep" during the first prayer. Finally, we left and visited Jim for a while. I was so exhausted that I didn't go back to work. I went to Dog Days on Thursday night and felt much better. I love working out! It is so hard, but so worth it, especially when you are only doing it for yourself. In high school and junior high, I despised sports. I've come to realize it is because I got tired of people screaming, yelling, and pressuring me to be good at sports that I genuinely sucked at. No wonder I ended up with generalized anxiety disorder and depression. Now that there is no pressure I really enjoy them.

Saturday--Finally, on a good note, Erik and I had a date last night. For Father's Day, I took him to a Royals game. They played the Toronto Blue Jays. It was Buck night so hotdogs, small sodas, and peanuts were a dollar. Since it was a gift, I splurged and bought him good seats and had Mom and Grandma Genny watch Noah. I had never been to a Royals game before. In fact, the only professional sport that I had ever seen was the Blackhawks vs. the Bruins when I lived in Chicago. I saw K-State play football a number of times when I was in junior high. I went with my junior high boyfriend Jarod and his family. If it wasn't for them, I never could have went because there is no way in hell my parents would have taken five kids to any sports event. It was then that I realized that I really enjoyed this sort of thing. Anyways, once again I digress. I really had a wonderful time. The Royals lost and we didn't get any donuts because they only got 8 hits, but it was fun. It was the perfect way to end a really crappy week.

This was a really boring post, but it was incredibly therapeutic for me. Thanks for listening! Next time, Somalia and North Korea...